Treasures from Our Tradition
Apart from the period from Thanksgiving through Christmas, the summer is a favored time for family reunions. We trace family trees and recall our origins. Worship has a family tree as well, and the way we celebrate today has been influenced by various styles and customs through the centuries. We are Western Christians of the Latin Rite. By far, we are the most numerous Western Christians, but there are other ritual families as well. The Archdiocese of Milan in Italy follows the Ambrosian Rite, Toledo in Spain preserves the Mozarabic Rite and the Arab language, and Lyons in France is home to the Gallican Rite. Other liturgical families, such as the Celtic in Ireland and the Sarum in England, faded away after the Reformation. Until recent times, members of some ancient religious orders such as Carmelites and Trappists followed a pattern of Mass that varied slightly from the plan observed in Latin Rite parishes.
Isn’t the Catholic Church the same everywhere? Not at all. It never has been! The existence of so many liturgical families in the West reminds us that unity, not uniformity, is what the Church seeks to achieve among her children. We are united in faith, but wonderfully diverse in rituals, ceremonies, languages, customs, and spirituality.
–James Field, Copyright (c) J. S. Paluch Co.